Title: Tales of Splendania: A Golden Wish
Author: T. O. Griffiths
Rating: 4 Stars
“In this ancient and mystical land, the most marvellous and dangerous magical creatures roam the lands and skies. The beautiful and valiant Princess Vanadae must find a way to protect her beloved Golden Unicorn from the most dangerous creatures of them all — the people of Splendania themselves. All of whom are completely hellbent on capturing and killing magical creatures, the Golden Unicorn most of all.
Vanadae must find and protect the majestic Golden Unicorn before Magnus the Mighty, her father and the High-King of Splendania becomes the first to slay this wondrous creature and ensure his rule over the three realms; Theos, Valastry and Ovamthia.
Will the Golden Wish, granted once in a lifetime to the members of the royal family, cause the malevolent Witch of the Woods to come out of hiding and continue her vengeance against the royal families of Splendania? Will the courage of Vanadae’s brother, Prince Galderon, protect her from the dangers in the Spellbound Woods and set them on a path to fulfil their destinies?”
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So, this is the first review request I’ve done in ages, as I did stop a while ago in order to focus on ARCs. This book comes courtesy of a new author I went to school with, T.O. Griffiths.
Tales of Splendania is a YA fantasy that reads like a traditional fable. It follows the story of Princess Vanadae and Prince Galderon of Splendania during a time when the fabled Golden Unicorn is sighted in their kingdom. To kill this magnificent beast is to hold claim to the other kingdoms of the world, and their father, King Magnus, has his sights on the prize.
Journeying through the magical forests of Splendania, Vanadae and Galderon encounter pixies and goblins, but when their party encounters the Golden Unicorn, they find themselves at odds with their father’s ambitions.
This book reminded me of Aesop’s Fables in that the world-building is in-depth and vivid, and there are a lot of fantastical elements. Including a sword imbued with magical power and pixies leaving breadcrumbs for an enthused Vanadae, which is especially interesting because the story alludes to a big magical future for the princess.
The book ends on a big plot twist which raises some big questions for the sequel, and promises some interesting developments.
There were a few small distractions in the story that dragged me out of immersion a bit, first being the overuse of exclamation marks, which in my opinion should be kept to a minimum in dialogue, and all but absent in narrative. The other was the introduction of the “golden wish”, which is a great addition to this world, but was spontaneously introduced at a convenient time. A little bit of pre-empting with regards to the “golden wish” would have made for a more seamless introduction.
Tales of Splendania is a short, entertaining, and magic-filled read that promises more excitement in later books.